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COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Race Matters, Friends held a meeting Tuesday to discuss the Columbia Police Department's traffic stop data that was released last month by the Missouri Attorney General's office.
The data shows black drivers continue to be pulled over at disproportionate rates, while white drivers are underrepresented in traffic stops.
During its meeting, the group put a lot of emphasis on equity vs. equality in CPD traffic stops as they believe CPD Chief Geoff Jeff has failed to meet the 2019 standards that were set by former City Manager John Glascock. Before Glascock's departure, he noted the importance of community policing and reducing disparities in police stops.
They say there are no equities in the way the police department conducts its stops, meaning there is no fairness and justice.
In 2021, black people made up 10.3 percent of Columbia's driving-age population but were subjects of 35.2 percent of Columbia Police Department traffic stops in 2020. The report shows that 234 black people and 226 white people were stopped for investigative reasons.
But, Race Matters, Friends says the department offers no data on the stops if they are effective in reducing violent crime and its impact on the community, as Columbia Police Department's Chief Geoff Jones said in an interview CPD is stopping violent offenders but there is no evidence.
The group has come up with recommendations the department should follow for its officers and traffic stops.
The non-profit says an agreed-upon set of data analyses should be conducted annually by race, age and sex and they should further evaluate the way searches are justified.
They say officers should be interviewed to obtain information about their challenges, successes and their views on issues in the city.
In a public record request done by the group, they want to obtain data that would show what weapons were used in solved and unsolved crimes and if the weapon was registered to the user or someone else.
Overall, Race Matters Friends says the department needs to improve its data collection effort by having trustworthy and transparent data so they can make equitable decisions not just based on traffic stops but on issues as a whole Columbia is facing.